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Kia has boldly predicted that its new Picanto hatch will become Australia’s top-selling micro car, even though no price-leading manual gearbox will be offered.

Car-makers often shy away from making internal targets public, but not Kia Australia. It wants to capture 300 sales a month, many of which will come from rivals, but also from the used car market.

This would easily beat out rivals such as the just-launched Holden Spark, plus the Suzuki Celerio, Nissan Micra and the current top-seller, Mitsubishi’s Mirage.

2016 Kia Picanto

To put this into perspective, sales in the Micro Car segment as defined by the industry are 1895 units year-to-date, down 31.3 per cent (over a 2015 figure that was itself down by a similar degree). The top-selling Mirage has averaged 185 monthly sales.

So, even if the Picanto brings some additional numbers to the Micro Car segment by attracting new buyers, the car will probably need to get a 40-plus per cent market share to meet its target.

As you can read in our detailed price/specs story, the five-door Kia Picanto arrives this week in a single spec level at $14,990 drive-away, with a standard automatic transmission. No manual gearbox is offered, which might hurt sales, but Kia needs to keep its inventory simple so it can actually make money. Most sales are also autos in this segment.

2016 Kia Picanto

This price makes the Picanto one of the cheapest cars on sale in relative terms, though the Celerio auto can be had for $2000 less. On top of this is Kia’s market-topping seven-year warranty.

If Kia manages to catapult the Korean-made Picanto into first place in the segment, it will be the second model in the company’s line-up to do so. The Kia Carnival is easily the number one people-mover in the market.

Kia Australia predicts that 70 per cent of private Picanto buyers will be young (it’s targeting new P-platers), and 30 per cent will be retirees. It also predicts about 20 per cent of sales will be fleet-based, to rental companies and the like.

Read more information on what you get with the Kia Picanto here.




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